The name of this blog is dedicated to my mother. Back in little league, my mother used to stand back behind home plate and give me that one, simple batting instruction: "get the bat off of your shoulder!"

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Trade with Jeff @ Cardboard Catastrophe

Jeff at Cardboard Catastrophe sent me a big pile of 2011 Update, some Heritage and some Lineage. A trio of the Heritage Chrome. I did not even realize these were numbered #/1962.

The stack of 2011 Lineage included some current Hall of Famers members, some definite future Hall members and some guys, who like me, will only ever get to Cooperstown on a tour bus.

Thanks a ton Jeff, I do hope you are eventually able to use the database I sent you.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Trade with Michael @ Nomo's Sushi Platter

Michael sent me a big pile of cards off my lists, just out of the blue! He sent along some Lineage, some 2012 '87 minis, some 2011 update even a sticker!

Very cool, I appreciate it very much. I was looking through his want lists and I don't have too much from his lists, so I had to really dig through the boxes to find some goodies to send him. Hope you enjoy them, and thanks very much for the trade!

Trade with Matt @ 26 Cent Summer

After a short business trip, I arrive back home to find a fat envelope from Matt over at 26 Cent Summer - I am back home and catching up on mail!

Matt sent a ton of 2011 Heritage, Series 1, Series 2 and Update.

Also in there are the last 4 pieces to the 1992 Topps puzzle. Set is wrapped up now! Thanks very much Matt! I look forward to trading again!

Friday, March 2, 2012

How do you organize your cards?

A few years ago, Hurricane Ike dropped a tree on my garage roof, letting water down all over my prized possessions. In reality, though, very little of importance was ruined, a bunch of paperbacks we'd already read, a lot of shoes that no one even wore, toys and dollhouses that no one had played with in years... crap mostly.

Except the baseball cards. 

I keep my baseball cards in Rubbermaid containers, originally to prevent bugs, coons, possums and other vermin from nesting in there. None of them had water damage except one... Only one container was damaged, and some water leaked in. A few football and hockey, and part of a '76 Topps baseball set were ruined, but in reality, I was pretty lucky.

At the time, I realized how really sad I would have been if all those baseball cards I'd been collecting over the course of my life had been destroyed. It was not the money value of these cards, it was my emotional connection with them. I decided I'd try to insure them, and was happy to find out that my homeowner's policy would cover them, though I needed to be able to provide precise list of all the cards.

I searched and searched for any software that could do what I wanted to do, and could not find anything useful. I knew I would have to write my own. I decided I'd use Microsoft Access as it is very easy to use, has forms for the UI and a capable report writer, if I wanted one. While I was a programmer at one point in my career, I really didn't want the project to be "work".

The top left is where you select a set to work with, after selecting the set, the lower left fills with each card in the set. If you click a card in the, the image of it loads as does the inventory for that card. If I wanted to add a card to inventory, I double-click the card list in lower left. Pretty straightforward.

It isn't pretty, but it does everything I need it to do, and I don't really have anyone to please but myself! Before you ask, no, I didn't type every single card in by myself. Some wonderful person behind Trading Card Database has done the work for me. I just copy his lists, paste to text file, import the text in to Excel, manipulate the rows as I need adding set ID numbers, sub set ID numbers, display order, etc, then I copy all those rows right in to the database table. I'm mostly finished adding in the set definitions, but a long long way from entering my inventory of cards in to the tables. But it's a labor of love, and it can be very relaxing. So, really, I do not mind.

I gave each card record a link to an image file, should I be crazy enough to want to actually scan every card I own some day. Very doubtful... Also, the database is linked with Sean Lahman's database, so should I get free time some day, I can link each card's represented player to his stats, personal data and so on. If you're not familiar with Lahman's, it's essentially the backend to the baseball-reference website. For now, though, it's a work in process, a pasttime that combines my love of cards with my love of programming.

I was curious how do all of you keep track of your collections?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

1992 Baseball Cards Magazine - White Sox

I was looking for some 1970 Topps and I came across these cards on eBay, which showed up because they're in the "style" of 1970 Topps. I knew nothing about them, but apparently they came out of some  baseball card magazine, aptly named, "Baseball Cards".  I'm a sucker for a Tim Raines card, and for $1.19 for 7 cards, all of players I'd heard of, I pulled the trigger. There's a current Hall of Famer and another who will no doubt be in the Hall when his name comes up on the ballot.

Frank Thomas looks so baby-faced young here. Fisk looks old. Thigpen is just happy to be here, isn't he? Remember when that 50+ save season seemed so amazing? 40+ saves now is so common, even last place teams have closers with that many saves. But back then, it was so completely amazing. It was like Denny McClain winning 30 games.

Rock n Robin. Get it? That was pretty clever of me. Plus Jorge Bell. I can remember when he was Jorge. Aparentamente los gueros no podian pronunciar "Jorge"... Que barbaridad!

I prefer this picture of Robin, though. Old man has him in a headlock. Old man that made his big league debut before Robin was even born!

The card backs are interesting, though they have no stats. That's unAmerican. But it does have a cartoon, which is cool, and something today's no-nonsense cards seem to be missing. We even get some investment advice! You can tell this card is from 1992, giving such advice as buying Jack McDowell cards as some kind of sound investment. Be honest, how many of you stuck those Tiffany boxes of '89 Topps away, secure that in 20 years you'd sell them and buy a yacht?

Donruss Action All-Stars

I received a surprise trade package in the mail. Surprise because I hadn't sent this person anything, but the sender's return address was very familiar. Wait... a trade package from my mom! Yeah, that's right. Even old men have mommas who still send them goodies!

Inside were about 15 packs of '83, '84 and '85 Donruss Action All-Stars postcard-sized cards.

I was out visiting my parents a few weeks back, and took my nephew to the card store there. The store had a bucket full of packs of cards from the Period of Excessive Printing, as I like to call the 80's. I was there to get my nephew a birthday gift, and forgot to pick up anything for myself. So, I mentioned to my mom that they had those cards for $0.50 a pack and if she wouldn't mind grabbing me all they had next time she went by there. Which she did! I forgot to get them myself because I was too busy trying to talk my nephew in to picking something for a birthday gift. He was too shy to say what he wanted, so I just mailed him a big stack of Yankees when I got back home.

There's half of me that wants to set this young lad of 9 off the path of Yankee fandom and on the correct path of Angel fandom, but it just isn't going to happen. He does have an excuse though, and it's one I can forgive him for. His great-great-grandfather, Ernie Johnson played for the Yankees back in the 20's. He even played with Babe Ruth. Ernie's son Don Johnson also played pro ball, for the Cubs during the 40's. I try to get him to like the Cubs, but he will just not be dissuaded from his love of the Yankees, so I won't stand in the way. As long as Topps sets overload me with Yankee inserts, I have someone who would love to have them. 

I only vaguely remember these Donruss postcard sized cards at the time they were released. 1981 to about 1985, when I was in college, are dry years in my card collection. I have few cards that I personally bought in packs at that time.

The photos on these cards are great, especially when you compare them to the initial '81 and '82 Donruss sets. Of the three different varieties she sent, I am not sure which I like best. I like bits of all of them. The photography on the '85 set is best, but I would prefer the head closeup was not there. The '84 back design is pretty cool, but, at least of the 10 I have, the pictures are not very exciting, as you can see from the Garvey above. He looks like he's playing for the company soft ball team. The '83 set has some of the best action shots of all, but they made it secondary to the huge face picture and the tons of grey background.
One of the best things though, are the backs. First off, I can read them without squinting, or holding the card away from my face. And there are fielding stats on there, like PO, Assists and Errors.

The best part though was the note that came in the package, probably some loving affectionate letter from my mother, right? No. It was a note telling me I owed her $7. Plus shipping... Oh well. Thanks mom!